The Supreme Court slapped the faces of property owners in its 2005 Kelo v. New London decision. As the Institute for Justice (IJ) reviews:
Susette Kelo dreamed of owning a home that looked out over the water. She purchased and lovingly restored her little pink house [in a neighborhood of New London, Connecticut]. . . .
In 1998 . . . the City determined that someone else could make better use of the land than the . . . residents. The City handed over its power of eminent domain . . . to the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), a private body, to take the entire neighborhood for private development. . . .
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision against Kelo and her neighbors sparked a nation-wide backlash against eminent domain abuse, leading eight state supreme courts and 43 state legislatures to strengthen protections for property rights.
Thankfully, on Tuesday the U.S. House passed bill 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, IJ reported in an email alert.
In introducing the bill, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner said, “This legislation will prevent economic development from being used as a justification for exercising its power of eminent domain.”
One’s home is one’s castle. The U.S. government should stop rather than encourage theft of private property under color of law.
Kudos to the Institute for Justice for its relentless fight for property rights. IJ exemplifies the ideal that Ayn Rand described in her essay “The Establishing of an Establishment”:
In Atlas Shrugged, I discussed the “pyramid of ability” in the realm of economics. The genius who fights “every form of tyranny over the mind of man” is fighting a battle for which lesser men do not have the strength, but on which their freedom, their dignity, and their integrity depend. It is the pyramid of moral endurance.
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- Deeper Than Kelo: The Roots of the Property Rights Crisis
- Property and Principle: A Review Essay on Bernard H. Siegan’s Economic Liberties and the Constitution
Image: Institute for Justice